As we approach the 9th anniversary of the U.S.-led war on Iraq, we are once again seeing American politicians claiming that an oil-rich nation in the Persian Gulf might soon build nuclear weapons. Top U.S. and many Israeli intelligence and military leaders, and all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies agree that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon, is not building a nuclear weapon and has not even made the political decision of whether to move in the direction of a nuclear weapon. And yet politicians are ratcheting up calls for military threats and even military strikes, this time against Iran — and the result could lead to war.
An attack or war against Iran would be a disaster and a crime. Just as United For Peace and Justice worked to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we strongly oppose any attack on Iran, and are calling on all to take action. It took several years to build majority opposition to those earlier wars. We must quickly express that majority sentiment that already exists against the possibility of any new wars, calling for justice at home and abroad instead! We need a foreign policy based on diplomacy and negotiations, not crippling economic sanctions and dangerous military strikes. So far the Obama administration has held less than an hour’s actual talks with an Iranian diplomat - diplomacy means engaging, negotiating, talking — and talking some more. It is time to urge family, friends, and people of good will — everyone who cares about people in Iran, in Israel, or here in the United States — to do all they can to stop military action before it starts.
- The U.S. Government to state its intention to resolve the conflict with Iran through diplomacy and negotiations, and not the use of force.
- The U.S. Government to exercise the full range of its diplomatic, economic and political influence to prevent the nuclear-armed state of Israel from attacking Iran.
- An immediate cessation of economic sanctions and threats of war against Iran, assassination of its citizens, and other “covert” actions by the United States, Israel, and their allies that serve to increase the danger of war.
- The U.S. Government to support a Regional Accord establishing a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East as called for in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, article 14, in order to end this cycle of coercion, fear and war.
Iran does not have a nuclear bomb. The U.S. intelligence agencies unanimously confirm this and say that Iran has not made the decision to build a nuclear weapon. Yet Iran has three neighbors that possess nuclear arsenals -- India, Israel, and Pakistan. All developed their arsenals covertly outside the framework of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), either violating or ignoring the Treaty, yet none of these countries faces threats of war or sanctions for doing so. Iran, in contrast, has remained a party to the NPT and continues to allow IAEA monitoring of its nuclear facilities.
Israel is not willing to give up its nuclear monopoly in the region. Its leaders would rather go to war to keep their nuclear weapons than cooperate with its neighbors to ensure that there are no weapons of mass destruction in the region. But nuclear weapons pose a grave danger to global security, and this is especially true in the strategic, over-armed, and oil rich Middle East. A U.S.-backed Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone would help reduce the threat of war in the region and help set the world on path to nuclear abolition.
If the United States truly wants to deter other countries from developing nuclear weapons, it must lead by example by implementing its own obligations under the non-proliferation treaty. It must stop threatening non-nuclear states, divest itself of its vast stockpile of nuclear weapons, and actively support commencement of negotiations for a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East — a commitment enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolution that ended the first Gulf War in 1991.
Many believe that the escalating rhetoric could accelerate the likelihood of a war or an attack against Iran either by accident or by politicians believing they have no choice boxed in by their own words. An attack or war would be a catastrophe for the millions of Iranian people who will experience their own version of shock and awe, and would face the threat of radiation poisoning from Iran’s legal nuclear power facilities. It would be disastrous for Israelis who would face retaliation attacks, and for millions more in the region caught in the crossfire. A war would also be a catastrophe for our own country, now in the midst of an economic crisis, and for the world as oil markets would spin out of control. The U.S. economic crisis has already been worsened by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a war with Iran would bring more of the same. The 1 percent may expect to benefit from another war and from $5/gallon gasoline, but the 99 percent stand only to lose.
UFPJ stands in solidarity with the Iranian people as they suffer from U.S. imposed sanctions and struggle to change their own country. Those sanctions, which President Obama admitted have been “virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt,” are exacerbating environmental, health, and economic crises for the Iranian people. In Iran, progressive labor and other popular democratic forces struggling for change have declared unequivocally that they do not want sanctions, outside intervention in their politics or war against their country. The first casualties of any such aggression are the lives and aspirations of the Iranian people themselves, while as in all wars the most repressive elements of the government would benefit most.
We must keep building a powerful peoples movement for justice and work to insure that preventing an attack or new war with Iran remains high on our justice agenda. We need those dollars in our communities. We need that money for jobs and to take care of Iraq and Afghan war veterans. We need that money to keep people in their homes and schools open. We need that money to rebuild what we have destroyed in Iraq.
Please join us and stand against sanctions, against war, and in solidarity with the Iranian people whose lives and dreams would be smashed by both. Call for a new decade of global justice and let’s start by building healthy communities at home!